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A Blue Perspective: Pixelfest: group artwork

Pixelfest: group artwork
12 November 2004

» Pixelfest group artwork project «

Here's the game: can a group of random people, each contributing a teensy weensy bit, make a coherent piece of art/design/garbage purely through the influence of the work itself?

Here's the rules:

  • You can place one pixel a day.
  • You can place a pixel anywhere on the grid.
  • You can overwrite existing pixels.
  • There is no pre-defined subject matter of the picture.
  • No collaborating through the comments.
  • Use your imagination.

Go and pixelate.

Update: Although sabotage may be attempted, the game goes on! If you do think something has gone awry, just tell me.

Update: Jeremy Varo-Haub has created a Flash animation of the entire pixel process. You can see it at


1/89. 12 November 2004 @ 06:40, Rob Mientjes wrote:

Sweet. I hope there will be no trolls. It's equal to the pixelfont, though (the one where everybody can change a pixel per glyph).

2/89. 12 November 2004 @ 06:41, Hans wrote:

Hmm. This'll be mighty fun once enough people get involved! Here's to many more pixles to come!

-pixel #3

3/89. 12 November 2004 @ 07:04, Hans wrote:

Sorry for the double post, but some pixels are larger than the grid squares, and thus have a light-grey line going through them...

4/89. 12 November 2004 @ 07:14, Turnip wrote:

Wow, that's a pretty cool idea. Will keep an eye on this...

5/89. 12 November 2004 @ 07:34, Simon Jessey wrote:

I have placed my pixel. Am I supposed to feel like a complete idiot?

6/89. 12 November 2004 @ 09:27, Andrew Krespanis wrote:

I don't know Simon, but if that's the correct response I guess we're both winners. :\
266 pixels laid, and someone has already written 'POOP'. I hope this doesn't go downhill...

7/89. 12 November 2004 @ 10:06, Angad wrote:

How about 'Fuck Bush'?
Naah, I'm just kidding, great idea btw!

8/89. 12 November 2004 @ 10:28, The Man in Blue wrote:

Hans: you're probably using Firefox/Mozilla. The grid is laid out using ems (so you can resize the picture bigger or smaller using font size) and Firefox miscalculates decimal em sizes, so you get pixel variations here and there.

9/89. 12 November 2004 @ 11:18, Tim Hill wrote:

I'm drawing a self portrait in the corner, don't ruin it!

10/89. 12 November 2004 @ 11:31, Jeff Wheeler wrote:

I figured out you can easily get through it. Simply disable cookies from this site and you can post as many pixels as you like. My recommendation is to use both cookies, and ips. Although this still is not terribly hard to get by, because whenever you reconnect to the internet on many ISP's, it'll assign you a new ip, and you only have to refuse cookies after that.

11/89. 12 November 2004 @ 12:52, The Man in Blue wrote:

If you want to be really malicious, you can circumvent anything.

I have faith that the entropy of the system will be able to counteract any ultra-stupids, and if someone totally decimates it I can always reverse it.

12/89. 12 November 2004 @ 17:46, Joerg wrote:

Nice idea, some inspiration and fun. :)

13/89. 12 November 2004 @ 23:47, Angad wrote:

Hmm views fine for me in Firefox.

14/89. 13 November 2004 @ 00:26, Alex Weber wrote:

A very cool idea. I am really strained which thereby will develop. Nice experiment ...

15/89. 13 November 2004 @ 01:24, Ross wrote:

Did anyone else look at the page for 10 minutes before deciding where to put their priceless pixel? I think I used mine in the most meaningful way I could find. :)

Lovely thought; I'll check back to see the results.

16/89. 13 November 2004 @ 01:30, Andrea Piernock Barrish wrote:

I've placed my pixel (893!) and I think this is an excellent experiment. I'll have to remember to come back and place more pixels. Oh, and I see some have overwritten the "poop"--nice work ;)

17/89. 13 November 2004 @ 02:31, Armando Juarez (Pixel 914) wrote:

Very interesting and innovative experiment. My respects to the Pixelfest Group!
I'm hoping the project ends up with something more than a fractal.
I like how there's a history of changes made to the picture, even though pixels may get writen over and over, in the end, it will have a little bit of each and every one of us. As Life

(ok, went philosophical there, apologies)

Ah, a suggestion, since there's a log of every pixel that has been modified. It would be nice to see time-lapse style animation of how this baby grew.

Anyways good luck to all of you, and well happy pixeling...

PS: One in a million means being part of THE team.

18/89. 13 November 2004 @ 02:43, PaleMelanesian wrote:

How about a way to select a color from the picture, as well as the color wheel, if you want to match one that's already there?

This is a Great Idea. I love it.

19/89. 13 November 2004 @ 03:50, Okke Formsma wrote:

I love this idea. I'll be contributing my pixels in the coming days. It gives you something meaninfull to do in the winter :P

20/89. 13 November 2004 @ 07:08, alicson wrote:

what an adorable idea. mine's in.

21/89. 13 November 2004 @ 08:02, blueskin wrote:

i think it would be more fun if the pixels were added in real time with automatic refreshing of the page.

22/89. 13 November 2004 @ 08:40, Rob Mientjes wrote:

Oh, Cameron, is it possible that there are currently pixels being added at over 100 a minute?

23/89. 13 November 2004 @ 09:15, Turnip wrote:

It makes me really sad that someone somewhere in the world has the time to write a script to change your experiment into a shock site.

Some days I wish we could just stick all these people on an island and sail away.

24/89. 13 November 2004 @ 09:17, beto wrote:

And the result of hundreds of thousands of collaborative efforts (at time of this writing) is.... a pixellated Goatse.

Brilliant. It was just a matter of time.

25/89. 13 November 2004 @ 12:34, Jeff wrote:

Hmm... there seems to be a problem. All the squares are empty now and it shrunk my name to the first letter.

26/89. 13 November 2004 @ 13:50, MrK wrote:

C'mon, I thought it was funny.

27/89. 14 November 2004 @ 00:12, nathan wrote:

Sorry I'm late...;)

28/89. 14 November 2004 @ 02:58, monkey wrote:

doesn't work on Mac OSX with Mozilla Firefox.

29/89. 14 November 2004 @ 06:41, thejmouse wrote:

I use Firefox on WinXP and it doesn't work either... Every pixel is white...

30/89. 14 November 2004 @ 10:17, Turnip wrote:

For those that don't know, and didn't pick it up from the above comments: someone hijacked the experiment and turned it into a Goatse picture.

So I assume the functionality was taken down in order to stop it happening again.

31/89. 14 November 2004 @ 12:50, The Man in Blue wrote:

Never fear, I shan't be daunted.

The offending pixels have been (easily) removed. Continue pixellating people.

32/89. 14 November 2004 @ 20:23, Turnip wrote:

Woooohooo :D

Perhaps it would be a good idea to restrict the 1 pixel per day thing by IP rather than cookies?

33/89. 15 November 2004 @ 09:05, The Man in Blue wrote:

It is now.

34/89. 15 November 2004 @ 22:32, Scott wrote:

This is a cool little project. Nice work man!

35/89. 15 November 2004 @ 23:38, bigeoino wrote:

Great idea.
Any plans to animate the growth and spread of the pixcels over time?
bigE (1587)

36/89. 16 November 2004 @ 00:44, The Man in Blue wrote:

Yep, could animate ... has to animate into something first, though. See how it goes :o]

37/89. 17 November 2004 @ 02:59, GeoffC wrote:

Fantastic Idea. Will be checking back often to see how it all pans out.

38/89. 17 November 2004 @ 23:42, The Man in Blue wrote:

If you squint pretty hard that big blue/red/green blob is starting to look like something.

Looks a bit pointillist, actually.

39/89. 18 November 2004 @ 02:18, Turnip wrote:

Can you get a cookie to remember my name please? It's annoying to have to type it in every time.

40/89. 18 November 2004 @ 06:34, jeremy wrote:

What's powerful about this is the way it limits the power of the individual. Sure, I could spend two weeks writing the word "poop," but any one other person who doesn't like it can follow the same path, deleting every pixel. And any two or three people can have a devastating effect on one person's progress.

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with the word "poop," by the way. Just using a real example from the collaboration-in-action.

On another note, I'm gonna start a support group called "animation now!"

I used the URL to skip forward 50 pixels at a time to see the whole piece coming together, and I submit that an animation, even at this "early" stage in the process, would be both interesting and educational.

Considering that the data is all there for culling, I may try to build something that compiles the data once a day for animating. Easy enough, if it's okay with The Man.

41/89. 18 November 2004 @ 07:10, Ithika wrote:

I agree with the animation request. When this is all over with - I can barely contain my excitement! - the blue-tinted Man himself should release the Offical Pixelfest Time-lapse Animation.

That would rock.

42/89. 18 November 2004 @ 07:40, Av wrote:

better a coloured pixel than just a number

43/89. 18 November 2004 @ 10:50, The Man in Blue wrote:

I'll probably get around to JavaScripting an animation thing sometime.

44/89. 18 November 2004 @ 17:56, Janetino wrote:

i suddenly feel tiny and square...and hungry

45/89. 19 November 2004 @ 01:08, jeremy wrote:

Okay, animation fans, here is an animation of the pixels as they get built, with some limited, but very useful, functionality:

There are a lot of little things that would make it cooler, but I'm not going to build any of them now. Feel free to mail me with suggestions at jeremy (at) haub (dot) net, but don't expect me to respond to them with any great speed. This was just an evening project to stretch my chops a bit, and it gave me a chance to see the pixels get built over time, which is what I was really wanting to see yesterday.

I hope you enjoy it!

46/89. 19 November 2004 @ 02:55, zargon zfrom zipzoid wrote:

zi zplaced zmy zpixel z! zyay!

47/89. 19 November 2004 @ 03:46, David house wrote:

My thoughts:

At first, I thought 'wow'! What a great idea! After adding my pixel I felt a little let down, there wasn't really a lot to do. But going through the archive and especially watching the animation made me think a bit more.

What's notable is the gradual build up then degredation of recognisable patterns. Someone managed to get 'poop', then '', then 'stek' written, and whilst this was happening the rest of the population sat by, not realising or were too interested and decided to let it continue. However, once it became a recognisable pattern, people started defacing it. Now those three phrases are barely distinguishable.

Next, it illustrates the two sides of us, the social and individual; we are more likely to place a pixel either next to someone elses (maybe because that's where our eye's are drawn, but regardless) or in a big space.

Finally, this'll probably turn into a 'slippery slope' experiment. If we ever get to the point where a scene starts to become apparent, its likely increasingly more people will realise this, and add to it. When there is nothing recognisable, no-one knows what to aim for, but when we eventually get a nice landscape etc., people are going to realise that that's what's being drawn and aid that goal.

48/89. 19 November 2004 @ 18:12, jim wrote:

i think this is a fantastic idea... i'm gonna put my ... uhm... effort in ... when i can remember... i think what i'm most interested in is how long it will take to complete.

how do we know when it's "done" tho?

49/89. 19 November 2004 @ 22:25, Doc wrote:

Great, just added my pixel. I wonder what would happen to it after a week.

50/89. 20 November 2004 @ 10:40, kaiser wrote:


51/89. 21 November 2004 @ 02:22, Eddie wrote:

The grid after 3140 pixels placed is becoming very interesting, with many of the shapes starting to merge together.

I've been placing pixels just to the right of the large cluster near the middle since number 450, originally to create a picture of a stickman, though it has taken on a life of its own since then.

Rather than to create a stickman, I chose to experiment with the colours, and added pixels to the different shapes nearby, which are now being merged into the cluster.

I really like the way the pixelfest experiment was made, and it's surprisingly addictive to add to and to watch others doing the same, thank you for making this. :-)

PS There is one thing which I'm having a problem with, is adding a pixel over the last few days; I'm having to wait later in the day to add to the grid.

Could this be because of having a limit on how long after you can place a pixel?

52/89. 21 November 2004 @ 13:37, TOCZ wrote:

I see an apple tree! lol... i hope this becomes something recognisable. I would love to see that happen. This is a great idea, and I plan on contributing whenever possible. Thanks!

53/89. 21 November 2004 @ 16:58, The Man in Blue wrote:

#51: The cookie on your computer should only last 18 hours, and the IP register is refreshed at midnight (California time), so you should be able to place a pixel at the same time everyday.

54/89. 21 November 2004 @ 20:24, Gemini6Ice wrote:

Shush, TOCZ! No collaboration in the comments!

(But, yay, that's what I was hoping for. When I started the tree, I was aiming for a "Christmas Tree," but people kept putting apples on it, and I could only destroy one apple a day. So I gave up and went with it.



55/89. 22 November 2004 @ 08:56, Lou wrote:

How fun! I'm pixel # 3329.

56/89. 22 November 2004 @ 12:57, Tim Hill wrote:

re: jeremey and pixel animation

Dude that pixel animation is friggin awesome.
javascript genius

57/89. 22 November 2004 @ 21:06, naac wrote:

I'd love to see an animated version with the progress from pixel 1 to pixel n

58/89. 22 November 2004 @ 23:34, Gonzaman wrote:

Placing a pixel on Monday morning...what a great start into the week.
Keep it going guys.

59/89. 23 November 2004 @ 01:08, jeremy wrote:


Thanks! It's not javascript, actually. It's a PHP file reading from an external data source that kicks data to an SWF in XML format. It's actually quite simple, especially because Cameron's data is formatted in a very simple, elegant way.

naac, you want to be able to choose pixel n, and then run the animation to that point?

60/89. 23 November 2004 @ 05:16, Az wrote:

It says it was last modified on the 12th - that can't be right... right?
Great idea, looking pretty already! I agree that an animation/event file would be great. ;)

61/89. 23 November 2004 @ 06:08, Mikkel Tscherning wrote:

Great project here, I've added my fancy yellow pixel :)

62/89. 23 November 2004 @ 08:28, ivyc wrote:

This is a very interesting project. My only suggestion is perhaps make it so that people can not override other peoples pixels???? But then maybe there was a reason you folks designed it that way.

Either way I think that it is an excellent and very cool Idea! I can't wait to see what it looks like when completed.

63/89. 24 November 2004 @ 19:53, Mark wrote:

The green thing bottom right looks like a Christmas Tree? ;) How festive of us all.

64/89. 24 November 2004 @ 22:11, Sligowaths wrote:

OMFG! What a great idea! I loved it!

I´m planning to develop one like your, just for fun...

Thank you!

65/89. 25 November 2004 @ 04:29, Tom wrote:

Jeremy's animation looks really good (, I thought about doing something like that but looks like youve done a great job allready, its interesting to watch pixels placed early on. They dont tend to get deleted.

66/89. 25 November 2004 @ 06:17, jeremy wrote:

Thanks, Tom! The link you threw up probably isn't going to work, because the punctuation got captured and added to the link. Here it is again, for the sake of clarity:

67/89. 26 November 2004 @ 01:45, andre wrote:


68/89. 26 November 2004 @ 05:06, AprilEchidna wrote:

Wow! I'm gonna help make that little tree. Help to make the bark all brown.

OK, I'll leave the portrait alone. ;-)

YAY! Pixel 2500!

69/89. 26 November 2004 @ 05:09, Dodo wrote:

Wow, this seems like a great project, very great idea!

70/89. 26 November 2004 @ 06:16, William Bowers wrote:

This is such an aesome idea! Although, the picture is starting to look like a really bad nintendo game :-D

71/89. 27 November 2004 @ 07:00, cloude wrote:

Great project. Would love to see it starting from pixel one and progressing in "real-time"

That would be very interesting.

72/89. 27 November 2004 @ 22:06, Daveeee wrote:

Awesome idea.
Looking great so far. imho, its beginning to look like a ********.

73/89. 30 November 2004 @ 04:38, Genossetom wrote:

This is such a sweet idea. Totally useless, but sweet. I love it!
I placed my pixel and I feel great, I am the art, I am the greatest artman on the world! My pixel will change my life, your life, the whole world! How could I ever lived without making my pixel? I don´t know...

For serious: the comments should start with the latest entries, is this possible?

Thank you for this nice idea, it´s so sweet (did I say this before?). Go on, people in the world, pixelate and alway remember: it´s a small pixel for you, but a big one for mankind ;-)

74/89. 9 December 2004 @ 12:32, Jay Harvey wrote:

Pixel 6000 was placed by Jay Harvey


75/89. 11 December 2004 @ 00:05, Dennis wrote:

Cool... loved the idea.
Have placed #6064 =)

76/89. 20 December 2004 @ 14:25, Greg K Nicholson wrote:

Hey, where are the greys?

(pixel 6390)

77/89. 22 December 2004 @ 04:35, Stuart Moffat wrote:

why have people stopped putting pixels up?, I was promoting this site for a while, I WANT TO SEE IT FINISHED!

78/89. 22 December 2004 @ 09:55, The Man in Blue wrote:

That's the beauty of Pixelfest. Who's to say it's *not* finished?

79/89. 25 December 2004 @ 18:24, Alex wrote:

Well, it OBVIOUSLY wasn't finished when Stuart made that comment.

80/89. 27 December 2004 @ 08:36, curty wrote:

i doodit ebby day

81/89. 28 December 2004 @ 02:24, Richard wrote:

Hey now, is that a hummingbird in the foreground (big blue blob)? I believe we're in the verge of a pixel-perspective movement :)

82/89. 25 January 2005 @ 04:08, Athyrius wrote:

Would make a great memorial or commemorative wall... kinda like having your name on a brick. Just another brick in the wall. ;-)

83/89. 1 February 2005 @ 16:12, Busy wrote:

I'm obsessed.

84/89. 2 February 2005 @ 18:18, Busy wrote:

Whoever it is, you might as well give up now.  That pixel is staying blue!!!

85/89. 7 February 2005 @ 16:13, Busy wrote:

Aie! I've been censored!  I was only kidding around... take it easy. 

86/89. 10 February 2005 @ 17:59, Athyrius wrote:

Ok I have added more purple. Everything should have more purple. The king of colors... and very dangerous to work with.

87/89. 11 February 2005 @ 18:53, Anastasiya wrote:

Great!!! I like this idea! With love from Russia:)

88/89. 14 February 2005 @ 07:29, Eugê wrote:

Neat idea. I hope, you log the pixelations, so that you can create a progress movie of  this project.

Greets, Eugê!

(pixel 8029 and some others)

89/89. 10 March 2005 @ 02:07, zachriel wrote:

Awsome idea! I hope I will remember about this project to keep adding my pixels.

(added number 8461)

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